The vibrant history of Aldersgate Retreat Center
The retreat house was built in 1892 as a private home in downtown Los Angeles on Harvard Blvd. in the Wilshire District. It features a Mission Revival-style exterior and a Craftsman-style interior, a popular combination at that time that emphasized clean lines and functionality.
In 1927, the building was purchased by two groups formed from the Sunday school classes at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles. The men's group called themselves 'We Boys' and the women 'J.O.C', Jesus Our Companion. These groups met for banquets, debates, retreats, and sought a permanent location for their gatherings. Two members discovered the house during an estate sale. The groups purchased the house in 1927 for $3000.00. In 1928, the house was cut in half and moved by trucks and mule team to its present location in Pacific Palisades.
Once settled in its new location, the house was named the 'We Boys - J.O.C Lodge' and displayed a large sign on the roof.
The We Boys - J.O.C. Lodge was dedicated to Eva Todd Burch (1866-1911), the teacher of the Sunday school class at First Methodist Episcopal Church for 18 years. She was a mentor, teacher, friend, and life long-inspiration to the We Boys class. A bronze plaque of dedication still hangs in the Library. Over the years, the We Boys grew older and gained members until it was the largest Sunday School for young adult men in the country. Every Sunday, more than 540 young men would get together and study the Bible with Eva Todd Burch.
The J.O.C. and the We Boys would get together for parties, retreats, and other events at the Lodge. Eventually, many of them intermarried and had families. The Lodge was also used at one time as a location to broadcast national Christian radio shows. For more history on Eva Todd Burch and the We Boys / J.O.C., click here.
In the late 1960's the Lodge was turned over to the United Methodist Conference Board of Laity and in the 1970's to what is now the California-Pacific Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The 1940's saw an addition of a dining room and manager apartment to the house and major renovations to the bottom floor 'Garden Level' were done in the late 1980's and early 1990's, along with the addition of Buerge Chapel and Meditation Garden on the lot adjacent to the retreat house
Aldersgate was designated a Historic Cultural Monument by the City of Los Angeles in 2008.
Aldersgate continues to offer a wonderful space for retreats, meetings, weddings, memorial services, and other events. Call the Site Director for a personal tour and let us demonstrate our 'Hospitality of Historic Proportions'.